Five Miles from the Sea is a look at the incursion (Five miles from the Sea) of non-indigenous Australians and their resulting mark on the land. Whether it is the erosion of the land or the erosion of the quarter acre block, how are we shaping and living in the hinterland? Who lives five miles from the sea? What does it look like though the eyes of ten diverse artists, some from different parts of the globe, who have indeed made Australia their home?
Adriane Strampp : Artist Statement
In considering the impact of European settlement in Australia, one of the most invasive and damaging migrants (other than European man), is the rabbit.
Although originally arriving with the First Fleet in1788, it was Thomas Austin, formerly of Somerset, who is held historically responsible for the spread of rabbits when he released 24 rabbits and 5 hares at his property Barwon Park, near Geelong in 1859.
A lack of predators and mild winters provided an ideal climate for year-round breeding and by the 1900’s the feral rabbit population had reached plague proportions across Australia. Despite the rabbits’ devastating impact on native flora and the environment, the introduction of foxes as a remedy only worsened the situation as the foxes found indigenous birds and marsupials easier prey. In 1907 the infamous rabbit-proof fence was built in WA, a futile attempt to control the spread of rabbits, and later in 1950 Myxomatosis was introduced, causing a slow and painful death that ultimately the rabbits became immune to.
In 1863 the Acclimatisation Society of Victoria set up on Phillip Island a breeding colony for hares sent from London by the Zoological Society. Although introduced at the same time as rabbits, hares had less of an impact on the environment being slower to breed and non-burrowing, and their spread was limited to the more temperate climate of South-Eastern Australia.
This work is from a series of recent drawings titled The Animal Gaze, examining the fragile relationship between animals and the human race. The hare stares back at the viewer, a symbol of strength and vulnerability, segregation and marginalisation. We are both migrants to this land and the animal gaze serves to remind us equally of our imposition on their world.
The Victorian Acclimatisation Society was founded in 1861 in order to introduce European plants and animals in order to make the alien environment economically productive, and to feel more like home. It folded 11 years later as the extent their damage was realised. (Source: Museum Victoria)
Hares, horses and stags have long featured in Strampp’s work, images of the hunted and the haunted, symbols of both strength and vulnerability. In conjunction with Strampp’s 2011 residency at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, Erlösung: The Animal Gaze is a project drawing exhibition that considers the animal gaze, and the relationship between the observer and the observed.
The animals in this exhibition are not cute; rather they are solid, monumental creatures drawn life-size, yet paradoxically they remain fragile and exposed. Their wary gaze regards us, guarded and measured, and they remain ‘in absentia’. In our desire for connection we long for our gaze to be returned, but as they look through or past us our projections are mirrored back, only to remind us of our imposition on their world.
Adriane Strampp has been invited to join Taronga Zoo‘s Artists in Residence program in 2011.
Overlooking Sydney Harbour, Taronga Zoo began the Artists in Residence program in 2009. Artists begin the residency with an overnight stay at the Zoo’s Roar and Snore campsite, meeting the keepers and their charges, exploring the Zoo after dark, sleeping in luxury tents and feeding the animals in the morning. Artists are provided with a special pass to visit and work as much as they wish over a three-month period, including access before opening hours.
Artists participating donate a work created during the residency to help raise funds for the Taronga Foundation’s ongoing conservation endeavours.
Adriane Strampp’s work Hare (In memory of Marcus) 2010 has been acquired for the Kedumba Collection of Contemporary Australian Drawings.
19. Hare (In memory of Marcus)
“An iconic, enigmatic work that reminds me of the enquiry that Durer was capable of. The artist placed the hare in a believable space without rendering a background. Placing all the importance on the animal itself.”
Speech by Peter Sharp
Judge of the Kedumba Drawing Award 2010
Blue Mountains Grammar School,
Greenhill Galleries welcome the hauntingly talented artist, Adriane Strampp, with a series of refined and sensitively captured images, inspired by the natural world.
Studying the form of the horse, amongst other creatures, with layer upon layer of shadows, Strampp’s dreamlike images pose the question: Is this reality or is this all imagined?
Moving away from her previous style of rich Renaissance colours and intensely detailed studies of ancient dresses, landscapes and lifestyles stretching back from the 18th Century to the Renaissance era, Strampp has delicately touched upon a rather beautiful and deeply moving ageless darkness, compelling the viewer further and inquisitively into this enchanted land. Her oil paintings have a sense of unique detailing, exploring the graceful lines, shapes and shadows found only in nature. Yet the hazy texture and outlines of her work are rather like watching the dusk settle, that unique time of day where everything comes alive. This exhibition is sure to enthral and captivate.
Today Adriane Strampp’s work takes another look at the horse and the landscape, in a quieter and more contemplative manner, together with the use of a limited palette. Her work continues to explore the intangible and evocative, that communicates before it is understood, and the importance of and relationship between scale, surface and the poetic image through a method of layering and reduction that reflects the experience of connection, through history on either a personal or broader level. Subject and shadow are indeterminate, and the viewer is drawn into the work to decide between what is ‘real’ and what is not. More importantly, it is hoped that the viewer will experience a connection of experience through the work.
Artists have been invited to respond to seven considerations regarding the compelling nature of painting. The title refers to the whole of this exhibition as constituting a discreet body of ‘painting’, one that might inclusively construct, amongst other things, a local constellation. This constellation might then be referred to as ‘painting’, and be located within a local universe called ‘art’; in time this constellation might become known, but probably only to its very particular inhabitants, as the ‘painthing constellation’.
Painting. Painting, pain thing: painthing. Maybe this has happened to you too; you’re driving along a suburban street or you’re reading the label on the back of a tin of crushed tomatoes somewhere in a dim corner of a supermarket and suddenly a word, actually any word but this time it’s this word, gets caught on the sieve-like structure that divides your perception of ordinary action from an extraordinary something. Immediately the word as-it-is jumps out at you and you see it in its entire absurdity, its un-meaning, its limp body superimposed on the frenetic buzziness of the universal attraction and repulsion going on all around you. Then you begin to examine it, prod it for signs of its former life. Nothing. Something very surprising suddenly happens; its body becomes slowly absorbed into the phrenesis of action and reaction, memory and meaning, membrane and pulsing core. It continues to offer itself to this whole until the shape you once knew emerges elsewhere as another; different, but somehow the same. And then you try and understand (what else can you do, you’re stuck in a long check-out queue) how this word-—this painful thing actually—can simultaneously be both itself and other. You look around; people are still in the queue, shelves still stacked, fluoros still buzzing, cars still silently gliding by outside, tired smiles still being offered. And then you realize that almost everything (you think almost because somehow you feel it cannot be quite this absolute) is both itself and some other thing; inalienably itself, yet distantly other. Is a constellation like that? Are the celestial bodies and dust particles that form it simply an infinite collection of collections of otherness, each component offering a kaleidoscopic fragment of the whole, yet each simultaneously desiring both breathless proximity and vast expansive space in which to, utterly and defiantly, be that one thing it feels itself to be? And, what of breathless proximity? Ah, that, the as one-ness thing. I can’t speak of that. It’s not in my nature, I resolutely surmise, as I get to the check-out just in time.